Terry Hall of The Specials dies aged 63

Terry Hall, the frontman of socially conscious ska band The Specials, has died at the age of 63. Known for his dour image and sharp wit, the singer found fame in the 1970s and 80s with hits like Ghost Town, Gangsters and Too Much Too Young. He left The Specials in 1981 to form Fun Boy Three with fellow-bandmates Neville Staple and Lynval Golding, scoring another run of hits.

The singer died after a brief illness, The Specials said in a statement.

The musician was born in 1959 and raised in Coventry. His life took a dark turn when, at the age of 12, he was kidnapped by a teacher. “I was abducted, taken to France and sexually abused for four days,” he told The Spectator in 2019. “And then punched in the face and left on the roadside.” The incident left him with life-long depression and caused him to drop out of education at the age of 14, after becoming addicted to the Valium he had been prescribed. “I didn’t go to school, I didn’t do anything. I just sat on my bed rocking for eight months.”

Music was some form of solace; and Hall joined a local punk band called Squad.He was spotted by The Specials’ Jerry Dammers. The band rose to national prominence after Radio 1’s John Peel played their debut single, Gangsters, on his show. They were a multi-racial group, documenting the turbulent Thatcher years by playing songs directly indebted to Jamaican ska - a pre-reggae style that remained popular in Britain’s West Indian communities.

The band rode an extraordinary wave of popularity, scoring seven consecutive top 10 singles between 1979 and 1981. That period culminated with 1981’s Ghost Town, an hypnotic, menacing song that seemed to predict and then soundtrack that summer’s riots on the streets of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. Ghost Town spent three weeks at number one, and is widely regarded as one of the all-time great British pop songs.

Hall left the band to start Fun Boy Three with Golding and Staple, abandoning ska for a more experimental, skeletal pop sound. Their debut single The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum) picked up where Ghost Town left off and the band found more commercial success by teaming up with the era’s biggest girl groups. They duetted with Bananarama on Really Saying Something and a cover of the jazz standard It Ain’t What You Do. Hall also teamed up with Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos to write Our Lips Are Sealed, a song that both bands recorded and took into the charts separately.

After Fun Boy Three, Hall formed numerous other bands, including The Colourfield; Terry, Blair, and Anouchka; and Vegas, a collaboration with Eurythmics star Dave Stewart.

Blimey … that IS a shock … :scream:

Although I was living in Coventry in the early '80’s, just round the corner from Terry Hall, I was too old for the gigs but loved the music.


I was surprised to read of his passing as he was relatively young. I really remember him from Fun Boy Three. I didn’t realise he was in the Specials and the only song of theirs I remember is Ghost Town (which is a fabulous tune) but I didn’t associate it with him. I guess he was more high profile as a celebrity in FB3.

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This is my favourite of his.Sadly now true.RIP Terry


Thats a shock and only 63 years old
That’s my favourite as well RIP
To much to young

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And in a lot of other places!

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This is how I’ll always remember Terry Hall. My sister had this album, I had this album, my friends had this album. It was something a bit different at the time.


yeah, same here, and there’s something special about …

a message to you rudy :023:

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a lot of oomph, just had a look, that lp was produced by elvis costello

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Rest in peace. One of my fav bands. All time favourite song.

And I thought You’re Wondering Now was a good choice as the final track, nice and mellow.
I think I’ll ask Alexa to give it a spin this evening :slightly_smiling_face:

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A colab with another of my favourite bands…

Bit of a shock…as others have said too young.

So sad … :frowning_face: